Notes Hoffmans Putter Toss Presidential Visit

By Associated PressMay 9, 2008, 4:00 pm
2007 THE PLAYERSPONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Charley Hoffman missed a 20-inch putt, then did something just about every golfer has at least considered after one shot or another.
He threw his club.
He whipped it actually.
Hoffman flung his putter into the murky water next to the 13th green Friday, a frustrating response to a double bogey that delighted the crowd and sent the 31-year-old player into a tailspin. It was a fitting highlight to Fridays second round of The Players Championship, which was played in gusting wind.
I had thoughts of diving in front of it, caddie Miguel Rivera said. I did actually think about going in, but the water looked a little funky.
Hoffman declined comment after he shot 11-over 83 in the second round and badly missed the cut at 15 over. He was 7 over when he reached the par-3 13th and needed a few birdies to make it to the weekend.
Instead, he missed what would have been a gimme on any municipal course and ended up shooting 8 over in the final six holes.
He used his sand wedge and a hybrid club to putt the rest of the round and actually had a few nice shots with them. Not knowing what to do with the head cover for the putter, Rivera threw it on the sand wedge for the final five holes just to make sure we designated it as our putter.
A volunteer eventually retrieved the putter, taking off her shoes, rolling up her pants legs, then tiptoeing along the edge of the water and pulling it out with an extendable ball retriever.
There was no word whether the volunteer planned to return it to Hoffman.
PRESIDENTIAL VISIT: After knocking his tee shot into the murky lagoon, Billy Mayfair walked to the drop area at No. 17 and found two dignitaries watching from the front row.
Former President George H.W. Bush made a brief visit to The Players Championship on Friday. Accompanied by PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem, Bush spent a few minutes on the practice range and then headed to the famed island green at TPC Sawgrass.
Bush watched three groups play the treacherous hole in wind gusting to 35 mph. Mayfair, Bubba Watson, John Mallinger, Dean Wilson, Michael Campbell, Shaun Micheel, Mark Calcavecchia and Carl Pettersson teed it up in front of the former president.
Mayfair was the only one who didnt land safely on the green.
I didnt see him until after I hit my shot, said Mayfair, who was 1 over after the second round. I just wish I hit that green. Ive missed it twice, two days in a row, so that holes kind of hurting me. Other than that, Ive played pretty well.
Mayfair has met Bush several times, the first one in 1987 as a member of the Walker Cup team. So Mayfair didnt hesitate to stop, shake his hand and say hello.
I know him a little better and I feel very comfortable, Mayfair said. Its not every day you get to meet a former president of the United States.
But Mayfair knew better than to spend too much time socializing. After all, the former president is known to enjoy fast play.
Ive heard hes very quick, Mayfair said, adding that Bush probably wouldnt spend too much time worrying about the tee shot on the 17th. Its only 135 yards. It cant be that hard.
TORTOISE AND THE SCARE: Anthony Kims scariest moment of the second round had nothing to do with gusting wind or slippery greens.
Kim and playing partner Boo Weekley spotted a turtle as they walked from the tee box to the green on the par-3 No. 8. At first, Kim would only touch the turtles shell with his wedge. But Weekley convinced him to feel it with his hand.
Just as Kim started the stroke the shell, the turtle snapped its neck upward.
He jumped and backed up real fast, Weekley said.
He got me pretty good, added Kim, who shot 70 and was 4 under.
KRAFTS BREAK: Greg Kraft didnt think his tee shot on the par-3 17th stayed on the green. He even stopped at the drop zone to hit another one.
It wasnt until he was about to drop a ball that the gallery and his playing partners alerted him that his shot landed a few feet from the edge, hidden in a sprinkler head.
Its nice to get a good break on that hole because in 10 years Ive had some bad ones, Kraft said.
Kraft was allowed a free drop from the sprinkler, then two-putted for par. He could have easily had a bogey or worse, and thanks partly to the break, he made the cut at 3 over.
Im just worn out. This course beat me up today, he said. Starting at 3 over, knowing you have to shoot par to make the cut, it was a brutal day. Its a tough course.
STUPID STAT: The video boards behind the tee and green on the 17th hole are filled with information aimed at entertaining and informing the fans. But one of the statistics might be the most useless, which is saying something.
Among other things, the tour keeps track of how close a player hits his approach shot from various distances. The 17th hole was playing 142 yards Friday, and as each player stepped to the tee, it flashed his PGA Tour ranking on proximity to the hole from between 125 and 150 yards. Stephen Ames, for example, is ranked No. 94 on tour at 23 feet, 10 inches.
All that is great'except that most approach shots from that distance arent to an island green.
So how did the No. 1 player in proximity from 125-150 yards do Friday? Well, that would be Corey Pavin, and he didnt qualify for The Players Championship. The second-ranked player is Kent Jones. He isnt here, either.
Boo Weekley was the highest ranked player in the field at No. 3. But at The Players, his ranking from that distance is No. 116.
Go figure.
CLARKS RECORD: Tim Clark set a tournament record Friday'and not a good one.
Clark recorded a quintuple-bogey 10 on the 573-yard ninth hole. His first two tee shots landed in the water right. He found the fairway with his third shot, then hit his next one into a large bunker short and left of the green. His seventh shot flew the green. He chipped to about 20 feet and two-putted for 10.
It was the highest score every carded at No. 9 in the 27 years The Players Championship has been played at TPC Sawgrass.
Only four larger number have ever been posted at Sawgrass in tournament history. Phillip Hancock took a 12 at the par-4 fourth in 1985, Bob Tway carded a 12 at No. 17 in 2005, Robert Gamez finished the famed island hole with an 11 in 1990 and Andre Stolz wound up with an 11 at the 18th in 2005.
DIVOTS: Vijay Singh, Justin Leonard, Padraig Harrington, Mark Calcavecchia, Geoff Ogilvy, K.J. Choi and Justin Rose were among the notables who missed the cut, which was 3 over. Robert Garrigus had the shot of the day. He aced No. 13 with an 8-iron from 164 yards. And he did it without much thought. I was joking around, trying to chuck stuff in the garbage, not really paying attention, get up, slap an 8-iron right at it and ended up going in, he said. It was kind of a shock. Eighteen balls found the water on the par-3 17th Friday, giving the famed hole a two-day total of 37.
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    Kelly beats Monty with two-shot swing on final hole

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 3:21 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Jerry Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole, Colin Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par and Kelly turned a one-shot deficit into a victory Saturday in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    After Kelly drove it well right into lava rocks on the par-4 16th, leading to bogey and giving Montgomerie the lead, Montgomerie made a mistake with his tee shot on the last, finding a fairway bunker. Montgomerie's approach went over the green and after Kelly converted his birdie, the 54-year-old Scot jammed his par putt well past the hole.

    Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship

    It was the third win on the over-50 tour for the 51-year-old Kelly, who finished tied for 14th last week at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Honolulu. That gave him confidence as he hopped over to the Big Island for his tournament debut at Hualalai. The limited-field event includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Kelly closed with a 6-under 66 for a three-day total of 18-under 198. Montgomerie shot 69. David Toms shot 67 and finished two shots back, and Miguel Angel Jimenez was another stroke behind after a 66.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, closed with a 70 to finish at 10 under.

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    Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

    Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

    Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

    “I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

    “The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

    Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.

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    Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

    LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook hit a hybrid into the fairway bunker on the par-4 18th on a breezy Saturday afternoon at La Quinta Country Club, then chunked a wedge and raced a chip 20 feet past the hole.

    Kip Henley, the longtime PGA Tour caddie who guided Cook to a breakthrough victory at Sea Island in November, stepped in to give the 26-year-old former Arkansas star a quick pep talk.

    ''Kip said, 'Let's finish this like we did on the first day at the Nicklaus Course.' We made a big par putt on 18 there and he said, 'Let's just do the same thing. Let's get this line right and if you get the line right it's going in.'''

    It did, giving Cook an 8-under 64 and a one-stroke lead in the CareerBuilder Challenge going into the final round on the Stadium Course at PGA West. Fellow former Razorback Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were tied for second, and Jon Rahm and Scott Piercy were a another stroke back after a tricky day in wind that didn't get close to the predicted gusts of 40 mph.

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

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    ''I know that I wouldn't have wanted to play the Stadium today,'' Cook said. ''I think we got a great draw with the courses that we got to play on the days that we got to play them.''

    Cook played the final six holes on the front nine in 6 under with an eagle and four birdies.

    ''Starting on my fourth hole, I was able to make a birdie and kind of get the ball rolling and it never really stopped rolling,'' Cook said. ''Kip and I were doing really good at seeing the line on the greens.''

    After a bogey on 10, he birdied 11, 12 and 15 and parred the final three to get to 19-under 197.

    ''I think that tonight the nerves, the butterflies, all that will kind of be a little less,'' Cook said. ''I've been in the situation before and I was able to finish the job on Sunday. I think it would be a little different if I didn't play like I did on Sunday at Sea Island.''

    He's making his first start in the event.

    ''I came in from Hawaii on Monday, so I only had two days to prepare for three courses,'' Cook said.

    Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 at the Stadium. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. Winless on the PGA Tour, they will join Cook in the final threesome.

    ''Piller's a good guy and we have played a lot together and same with Cookie,'' said Landry, the only player without a bogey after 54 holes. ''Hope the Hogs are going to come out on top.''

    Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium to reach 17 under. The third-ranked Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.

    ''A little bit of a survival day,'' Rahm said.

    The wind was more of a factor on the more exposed and tighter Stadium Course.

    ''The course is firming up,'' Rahm said. ''I know if we have similar wind to today, if we shoot something under par, you'll be way up there contesting it over the last few holes.''

    Piercy had a 66 at the Stadium.

    ''I controlled my ball really well today,'' he said.

    Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on the Nicklaus Course, and Harkins shot 68 at the Stadium.

    Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time. The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.

    Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. He had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over.

    John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine - and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.

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    Phil misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 am

    Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.

    He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.

    How rare is his missing the cut there?

    The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.

    The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.

    Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.

    Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.